LAHORE: The Test squad for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka has been announced.
Leg-spinner Yasir Shah, who put to rest fitness concerns after he nailed the fitness tests on Saturday, has been selected in the squad, along with Azhar Ali, who has been struggling with a troubled knee but has been cleared to play after injections.
Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq, addressing a press conference, announced the names of the 16 players in the squad, which includes a combination of five fast bowlers and two specialist spinners.
About Yasir Shah, Inzamam said the spinner would prove to be ideal in UAE conditions.
“Yasir Shah has been our best bowler over the recent years,” he said.
The chief selector said he wants to give maximum opportunity to youngsters to showcase their talent in the series.
25-year-old Mir Hamza from Karachi, who has been named in the squad, has an impressive record of 216 wickets in 46 first-class matches which he has played during the last four years.
Another notable, albeit surprising, inclusion in the Test squad is of 31-year old all-rounder Bilal Asif, who has only 15 first-class matches to his name. He has also represented Pakistan in three ODIs.
Young spinner Shadab Khan and veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez have been omitted from the squad. Opening batsman Ahmed Shehzad also failed to impress selectors with his performance in first-class cricket last season.
In the middle-order batting lineup, Haris Sohail and Usman Salahuddin are included in the list to fill the gap left by retirement of experienced duo of Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq.
Squad: Azhar Ali, Shan Masood, Sami Aslam, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Sarfraz Ahmed (captain, wicketkeeper), Usman Salahuddin, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Asghar, Mohammad Abbas, Bilal Asif, Mir Hamza and Wahab Riaz.